Urban Fold

In Historic Missouri City, Visionary Entrepreneurs Follow in the Path of Preservation Pioneers

Echoing the pioneering preservationists that saved and restored historic neighborhoods "left behind by suburban development" in the 1960s, a group of visionary entrepreneurs is battling to defend the historic soul of St. Joseph, Mo.

The efforts of those that "saw the beauty, value and promise of gracious living in historic buildings" in the face of urban renewal of the 1960s, "is the most compelling storyline of the second half of the last century," says Roberta Brandes Gratz. "The rebirth of today’s thriving cities started with the rediscovery of yesterday’s discards. That, as they say, is history. But history has a funny way of repeating itself. Today, one finds examples of that organic renewal process re-emerging."

"Many cities have lost more than what remains of the authentic architecture on which to build a new momentum. Miraculously, one that survives with an amazing rich legacy to work with is St. Joseph, Mo."

The birthplace of the Pony Express and home of Aunt Jemima, "is still home to a diverse assortment of agriculture-related industry," notes Gratz. "The past and present combine to offer new opportunities, and a small but growing group of adventurous entrepreneurs appear to be present to lead the way, like the urban pioneers of 50 years ago."

Full Story: Organic Renewal: St. Joe’s Story

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